Can a mass exodus of mostly millennials from churches lead to a billion global "gatherings" that meet at coffee shops, workplaces, and homes?
Pastor and church planter Jimmie Davidson is counting on it. He is the visionary behind The Brooks Church, designed to help people who are accustomed to watching church services through the Internet or on TV "become people with a church" wherever they meet.
Although The Brooks is a church planting movement, Davidson refers to the groups as gatherings, much like the early church in biblical times. The Brooks officially launches on December 3.
"We are trying to bring the church where the church doesn't exist as we raise up people that are not in the game, not using their talents, they are more spectators, and help them be a part of what Christ is doing all over the world," said Davidson, 55, whose bio includes the descriptor "Great Commission Strategist."
"One billion people mobilized, awakened, to host His church where they live, whatever space they have. It's about His movement, it's like streams of the desert, Isaiah 43:18-19. It's the ultimate seeker-sensitive movement," he said.
"Forget the former things, I'm doing something new, like streams in the desert" (Isaiah 43:18-19).
Davidson stated that the timeline for reaching the 1 billion host milestone is not up to him, it's "up to God." Even so, it appears Davidson is well-equipped to lead and launch The Brooks Church at a time when one-third of millennials say they are unaffiliated with any faith, according to a Pew study released earlier this year.
Davidson's church planting experience includes starting Highlands Fellowship Church in Virginia which grew from a small group study of family and friends to 4,000 people in attendance and multiple sites. He is the founder of the Global Glory of God PEACE House where over 300 international business leaders and pastors have been trained from over 70 nations, "touching tens of millions of lives."
He was also a contributing author of Multi-site Churches: Guidance for the Movement's Next Generation by Scott McConnell.
He says the vision for The Brooks Church is to "launch churches all over the planet through ordinary followers of Jesus, using 21st century technology, the Internet, where 3 billion people are online, with the 1st century idea that Jesus gave us when he said, 'I will build my gathering and the gates of hell will not prevail against me.'"
He added, "The gospel is meant to be seen up close. The online launch can be a little bit misleading because we are using that as a tool, as a platform, but the heart of what we are doing is what the Lord said, 'Do not forsake the gathering of your souls together.' Jesus said if two or three of you meet in my name, it will be done by my Father. There's something powerful about people following Jesus gathering, others gathering, God showing up and needs being met."
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